Clint Eastwood became the face of modern Westerns and brooding dramas during his career. But, like all actors, he occasionally branched out into different genres to add some excitement and versatility to his resume.
One of his most famous one-off movies is Every Which Way but Loose. The 1978 film starred Eastwood as a trucker-turned-fighter who travels around with his best friend, an orangutan named Clyde.
While talking to The Guardian in 2003, the now four-time Oscar winner admitted it was out of character to accept a role in such an odd movie. And when he did, all his professional connections and friends “begged” him to change his mind saying the movie would kill his Hollywood branding. But Eastwood was feeling a bit lost in his career, and he needed to do some exploring.
“Yeah, I’ve made some strange choices along the way,” he said. “That was a film my agent and everyone else begged me not to do. This is after Dirty Harry and I’d done a lot of action and adventure films, and they said ‘That’s not you’ and I said, ‘Well, what is me? I don’t know.’”
Clint Eastwood Thinks ‘Every Which Way but Loose’ is ‘Hip’
Ultimately, Clint Eastwood hoped to connect with a different fanbase by starring in Every Which Way but Loose, which he did. He also found the quirky storyline endearing and cool.
“To me, it was about reaching out to a younger generation, making a movie that kids could see, with a little less mouth,” he continued. “And there was something hip in an odd way about the movie – this strange guy tells his troubles to an orang-utan and loses the girl, everything about it was a little bit off-center. It seemed like something to do at the time.”
The movie didn’t go on to be a classic by any means. It only holds rotten scores for both critics and audiences on RottenTomatoes today. But it does have a sort of niche cult following that’s kept it alive.
In the end, Clint Eastwood doesn’t regret taking on the project—and he thinks it was fun and interesting to share the lead with an orangutan.
“It was great – it was like working with a six-year-old,” he said of Clyde. “Supposedly they reach about the level of a seven-year-old child and they only have the attention span of a child, so you have to go on the first take.”
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